This Week's Recommended Shows

From Japandroids to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Chris Smither/Wednesday, November 14

The world has a good many unheralded living artists, and folky bluesman Chris Smither is a prime example. While his friends Bonnie Raitt and Dr. John have become household names, Smither, at 68, is ever on the sidelines. Whether because of his achingly poignant lyrics or his tender, acoustic coffeehouse style, the musician has yet to breach the mainstream. Recording with a full band, he's sometimes reminiscent of a laid-back JJ Cale, but his fine output in the '90s—especially stripped-down albums like Another Way to Find You and Small Revelations —show Smither is an instinctual guitar man at ease with himself, in or out of the spotlight. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 7 p.m. $25. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Rebirth Brass Band/Thursday, November 15

Band nerds? Ha! Not in New Orleans, where picking up a horn is every bit as cool as catching a touchdown pass. If jazz evangelists were serious about spreading their goodness to the youth of America, they'd be well-served to capture hearts and ears with the Big Easy's party-animal, stylistic-gumbo version than to take the more highfalutin' paths trod by musicians-in-residence and such. Ain't no party like a Rebirth party 'cause a Rebirth party don't stop, and considering the boys are playing back-to-back gigs on Ballard Avenue— as close to a Bourbon Street as Seattle's got—this weekend, it won't. With Tubaluba. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $15. (Also opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers earlier in the night at KeyArena, and playing the Tractor Tavern on Friday at 10 p.m.) MIKE SEELY

Red Hot Chili Peppers/Thursday, November 15

When guitar genius John Frusciante left RHCP a few years back, the music world lost one of its most complete pairings. Frusciante's fantastical guitar licks danced with Flea's impossible slap bass across their records like shooting stars caught in a freak binary system. New axeman Josh Klinghoffer blends in well enough, but the band's new album, I'm With You, is soft. Singer Anthony Kiedis can be especially annoying when he's trying to carry too much of the weight, and the (still great) Flea/Chad Smith rhythm section can do only so much in this setting. They've been hit-and-miss for a while, sure, but the fire has now officially dulled, and the funk is less funky. Thank God for the hits. With Rebirth Brass Band. KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., 684-7200. 7:30 p.m. $50–$80. All ages. TODD HAMM

Expo 90 Festival/Friday, November 16—Saturday, November 17

If you've been to shows at Cairo before, then you're already familiar with bands like Stephanie, Witch Gardens, USF, and Hausu, all of whom will perform at the art space/vintage shop's fifth annual Expo Festival (which also includes a day of photography shows and performance art on Thurs., Nov. 15, no cover). But the curators at Cairo excel at simultaneously staying loyal to the old and introducing the fresh and new, and this year's festival lineup includes several newer names worth getting acquainted with: notably, the droney grunge-punk of FF; Jeff Johnson's intriguingly disjointed twitch-pop project the Numbs, which recently released its debut cassette People on Couple Skate Records; and the all-female surf-pop quartet La Luz, fronted by former Curious Mystery frontwoman Shana Cleveland. With Dream Salon, Hair & Space Museum, Brain Fruit, Baby Guns. Cairo, 507 E. Mercer St. 6 p.m. Fri., 5 p.m. Sat. $7 each night. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Fearce & BeanOne/Saturday, November 17

Fearce Villain has more than earned his stripes in the brag-rap arena as a vital member of three-headed local outfit Dyme Def, but dig deeper and you'll find tracks that delve into the mind of a man who came up hard. Many of his verses seem therapeutic in their disclosure, but they're also delivered in a strong tone that empowers the listener. Behind the boards on their recent collaborative album, There Goes the Neighborhood, Seattle beat veteran (and primary Dyme Def producer) BeanOne brings out the best in Fearce—from punch lines to introspection—with his nostalgic, sample-reliant production. With the Bad Tenants, Irukandji Physics of Fusion, Global Heat. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $6 adv./$8 DOS. TODD HAMM

**EDITOR'S PICK

Japandroids/Thursday, November 15

Celebration Rock is the perfect title for Japandroids' second album, a record of overwhelmingly noisy exuberance. The occasion for celebration may be that the Vancouver duo is even still together: Their 2009 debut Post-Nothing was supposed to be their last hurrah, but then it sparked in a big way, things kept moving, and Celebration Rock was made. It's an affirmation of Japandroids' existence. And that's a great thing: The bombast and bedlam of their sound—the fresh spirit of their shouty melodies and forever-young mantras—make for definitive rock-and-roll. The video for "The House That Heaven Built" is an accurate portrait of a Japandroids show: sweaty hair, crowd-surfing, tongues lolling, fist-pumping. It's a scene that matches their go-for-broke lyrics, as on "Younger Us": "Remember saying things like 'We'll sleep when we're dead?'/And thinking this feeling was never gonna end?" With Bleached. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $16. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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